Hands up who flunked biology class at school? If the subject failed to capture your attention in your teens, now is the time to swot up, because it can have a direct impact on your health and fitness goals.
To kickstart your abs using the power of science, we have an intense six-minute Tabata routine from Australian-founded app Centr. Tabata-style workouts are characterized by high-intensity interval training (HIIT) exercises followed by a short rest period. The name originates from Dr. Izumi Tabata, a Japanese professor of sport and health science, who was part of the team who came up with the format.
These workouts can boost your endurance by increasing your VO2 max level (the amount of oxygen your body can consume during exercise) which is a key indicator of your aerobic fitness. Basically, it's a measure of how efficient your body is at delivering oxygen where it's needed—for example, to your muscles during an intense workout.
It's a super-efficient way to train and the video below demonstrates how you can get started. All you'll need is a good yoga mat—if you don't already own one, have a look at our round-up of the best yoga mats on the market.
How to do Centr's six minute abs workout
This workout, led by personal trainer Luke Zocchi, consists of five abdominal exercises including seated scissor kicks and straight-leg reverse crunches. Perform each exercise for 20 seconds, followed by a 10-second rest period. After you have completed one full round of the exercises, rest for 30 seconds before repeating the moves.
The aim of this routine is to boost cardiovascular endurance while conditioning your abdominal muscles. During each exercise try to keep your head still and inhale as you begin the repetition and exhale as you finish it.
HIIT/Tabata workouts are great if you’re pushed for time and they offer some impressive health benefits, too. As outlined above, they're great for improving VO2 max and cardio fitness.
A study published in the European Journal of Applied Physiology also found participants who completed a program of HIIT showed a greater improvement in eight health indicators such as BMI and body fat, compared to those who stuck to moderate-intensity continuous training (MICT).
Looking for more equipment-free, short workout ideas? Try this simple HIIT workout for fat loss, which uses bodyweight exercises to get your heart rate up. For a greater challenge, try tagging on a leg workout to the above abs routine, to fire up a broader range of muscles across your body.
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Jack Phillips is a freelance writer based in London, UK. He specializes in fitness, health, and nutrition features, with bylines at Ideal Home, GQ, T3, and others. He has a B.A. in politics and is currently working on a post-graduate diploma in law. In his spare time, he enjoys strength training workouts, running, rowing, and yoga.
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